As I write this I have been watching the remembrance events for the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. You cannot look at those rows of graves and fail to think of the sacrifice of those young men, some of whom were probably too young to be in the army, but volunteered anyway. The first world war was known as the war to end all wars, originally this was idealistic but these days is used mainly sardonically.
So what went wrong? Well the quick answer is “Man”. Not the just the male but the whole of humankind. Our greed, self -serving attitude and need for power have started many a war. Wars in which women have become widows, or become childless overnight, men become widowers and lose their children too. How long will we make others grieve their loss?
Matthew chapter 7, vs 3 tells us not to try and take a speck out of someone else’s eye when we have a log or plank in our own. You see we all look at these attitudes and think ourselves above such things, but the truth of the matter is that all exhibit these attitudes in our everyday lives. Ashamedly we can all be selfish, greedy, and want to be superior over those around us. We all will try to get “one over” on a rival for promotion no matter how hurtful the information we use may be. We may eat to excess not giving a thought to those starving in Africa. We all will take the car parking spot nearest the shop, even if we are fit, we don’t leave it for someone less able. How many of us don’t hold a door open for someone with a push chair because we want to get what might be the last article of our favourite item on the shelves.
So what do we do? What can stop behaving in such a way? The answer lies in the Bible. We are told to love our neighbour as ourselves. Then we will hold our tongue and work harder to gain promotion, we will give some of the money we use for excesses to charities who provide food for the starving, we will give up that best spot for us in the hope someone more deserving gets it, and we will spend a couple of seconds holding open a door for someone.